This past Saturday I was lucky enough to attend the grand tasting for this year’s Montclair Food & Wine Festival. Now in its second year, the grand tasting took place at the Montclair Art Museum. After walking past a small fleet of white Maserati and Lexus sports cars, guests could take photos on the red carpet before checking in and diving into the seemingly endless food and drink offerings on two floors of the museum. After checking in, I made a beeline for the Fin Raw Bar table, stacked with freshly shucked oysters and clams. At adjacent tables, Fricassee offered up silky pate on toast points, and the Ryland Inn served tiny cups of refreshing watermelon gazpacho.
Downstairs in the main atrium, revelers were greeted with fresh and punchy cocktails by Leaf Organic Vodka, before winding around the dizzying array of tables. Orange + Olive Caterers & Chef’s Table brought a new menu item for the event; a summery and light hamachi ceviche with yuzu, Brick Lane Curry House offered samosa sliders with a selection of sauces, and Tia’s Food of Love put down a spread of gorgeous bites that drew especially thick crowds around their table.
Samba dished up shrimp in a comforting and creamy butternut squash sauce, and Escape served a particularly bracing and vibrant cold asparagus soup with crab and pea shoots. Le Salbuen offered petite salmon cakes with sweet potato and micro greens that looked as beautiful as they were delicious. For a sweet finish, Little Daisy put out an impressive spread of mini confections, and Asalt & Buttery Bake Shop served up a rainbow of gorgeous macaroons that were eaten almost as quickly as they were put out. For cocktails, Upstairs’ Grown Up Lemonade stole the show, steeped with rhubarb for a pleasantly tart finish.
The silent auction, stacked with items donated by Anthropologie, Lululemon, Jersey Artisan Distillery, Samba, Thread, Watchung Booksellers, and many others, benefitted the Center for Feeding and Swallowing at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital. All in all, a gorgeous event, made even lovelier when the retracting roof over the atrium was drawn back, illuminating the guests and table offerings. It’s only fitting that the culinary capital of New Jersey has an event as vibrant and celebratory as the Montclair Food & Wine Festival.
For the full post and more photos, visit Devil Gourmet.